Monday, 10 October 2016
Media release

More than 800 days of no illegal boat arrivals to Australia

​The border policy contrast between the Coalition and Labor could not be starker.

Under the Coalition Government, this month marks 800 days without the arrival of one illegal people smuggling boat to Australia.

Under Labor, more than 800 boats arrived carrying more than 50,000 Illegal Maritime Arrivals.

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton said today Labor must learn the lesson of recent years.

"Labor's open border policies were a disaster for Australia, while the Coalition's strong border security arrangements have ended the deaths at sea and enabled the removal of all children from detention.

"Labor now pays lipservice to the Coalition's policies, but we know the reality is that the Opposition is riven with internal dissent.

"A significant section of Labor's caucus would return to the Rudd-Gillard open border position tomorrow.

"Mr Shorten needs to bring these recalcitrants into line. More importantly he must assure Australians that never again will Labor water down the policies that work."

Mr Dutton said marking more than 800 days since the last people smuggling boat reached Australia was a significant milestone for Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB).

"OSB has put a halt to the vile people smuggling trade to Australia and has shown the world that we remain resolute and committed to protecting our borders."

"I pay tribute to the men and women who protect our borders and help prevent vulnerable people risking their lives at sea.

"If we look back to the years preceding OSB; 50,000 people arrived on more than 800 boats, 1,200 people lost their lives at sea and over 8,000 children were in detention and our nation will be saddled to the expensive fallout for years to come – that's is Labor's legacy."

Mr Dutton reiterated the Coalition's commitment to its strong border protection policies.

"This Government has restored our border security and saved lives. Without OSB we know there would have been tens of thousands more people continuing to risk their lives on unsafe people smuggling boats and dying at sea," Mr Dutton said.

"My message is clear – our aerial surveillance and maritime capabilities have been reinforced and any people smuggling boat that attempts to travel to Australia will be detected and turned back.

"I want to remind all Australians that we cannot take our success for granted. We must remain vigilant and resolute; the people smugglers will seek to take any opportunity to restart their evil and dangerous trade.

"The recent arrest of notorious people smuggler Captain Bram in West Jakarta and the extradition of alleged people smuggler Mohammad Naghi Karimi Azar from Indonesia to Australia, demonstrate the success of our offshore deterrence efforts and close cooperation with our regional partners to disrupt people smuggling activities.

"It is only when we are sure that out our borders are secured that we can turn our attention to our successful migration programmes."

With the additional visas offered to those displaced by the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, the 2015-16 Humanitarian Programme was the largest offshore programme in more than 30 years with 15,552 visas issued. Thanks to Australia's border protection policies the Government is now able to maintain our Humanitarian Programme at the increased level of 18,750 places from 2018-19 onwards.

"We want people to come to Australia the right way and our migration programmes are available to support those who genuinely need our help," Mr Dutton said.